Ashley's Reviews > The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

The Wall by Peter Sís
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's review
Mar 29, 2011

really liked it
Read in March, 2011

The Wall represents a great autobiography for young adult readers. The style of this book is what sets it above the rest. The story line that runs along the bottom of the pages is written in very simple sentences. Other text in the book ranges from picture captions to diary entries. The changing style and format of each page keeps readers intrigued and captivated. The word choice throughout the book also adds to the style of the work. For instance, the author’s use of the word compulsory, written in bold black all capital letters, conveys to readers the heavy connotation that accompanies the strict required demands of the government in Czechoslovakia under Soviet Union rule. The black and white sketched illustrations, pops of color to emphasize parts of the illustrations, and the changing format of the text all make this book a great one.

As an autobiography, this book allows readers to develop a deeper understanding of life during the Cold War. Young readers can relate to Peter’s childhood as he desires to pursue his passions, break the rules, travel, and be free of strict rule. There is fact in this book that allows readers to learn more about the time period, but the personal accounts throughout the story are what really connect readers to the author.

Although the illustrations and format of The Wall make it appear as if it would be appropriate for young middle school students, I think that it would be more appropriate for high school students. I think that the content and oppression within the book is a more appropriate topic for older reads. I believe they would appreciate the story more than younger readers. Both male and female readers would be able to relate to Peter Sis. This book also demonstrates diversity. It gives readers a glimpse into the life of someone from another country, from differing circumstances than they have ever known, who came to America as an adult to pursue his dreams and escape his past.

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